how to stick to a workout routine

How to Stick to a Workout Routine: 2 Life-Changing Tips!

Have you been struggling with sticking to your workouts? It’s not your fault! Let me explain how to stick to a workout routine so that you can stop relying on self-discipline and willpower to reach your fitness goals.

2 Simple and Life-Changing Tips to Stick to Your Workout Routine

I like to keep things as simple as possible because being complicated often means being overwhelmed. That’s why I made my how-to stick-to-a-workout-routine tips simple but life-changing. You only need to remember two things: how to use habit stacking and short workouts to your advantage.

1. Habit Stacking

Habit stacking is a technique that involves linking a new habit with an existing one to help make the new habit more automatic. The idea is to “stack” the new habit on top of an existing habit that you already do consistently so that the two become associated in your mind.

For example, let’s say you want to start exercising daily but struggle to find the motivation. You might try habit stacking by linking your exercise habit with an existing habit, such as brushing your teeth. So, you could commit to doing ten pushups immediately after you brush your teeth every morning.

By linking your new habit of exercising with an existing habit that you already do every day, you’re making it easier for yourself to follow through on the new habit. Habit stacking can be an effective strategy for building new habits, especially if you struggle with motivation or consistency. I recommend reading How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones to dive into the concept of habit stacking.

Routine for Working Out

Habit stacking is about creating a routine that works for you and includes your new workout habit. As for me, I like to work out early in the morning, right after my coffee (see how I am stacking my workout habit on my coffee habit?). There are many ways to get into a workout routine at home or the gym (by the way, you may enjoy my post Workout at Home vs. at the Gym: Which Is Better?).

Starting a workout routine can seem challenging, but you can establish a sustainable habit with the right approach and mindset. Let me describe five strategies that you could use to stick with a fitness program:

  1. Set a clear goal: A specific goal can help you stay motivated and focused. Whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve your overall fitness, make sure your goal is specific, measurable, and achievable.
  2. Start small: Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with small, manageable workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration. This will help prevent injury and burnout.
  3. Create a schedule: Set aside dedicated time for your workouts and treat them like any other appointment. Whether in the morning before work or during your lunch break, ensure you have a consistent schedule that works for you.
  4. Find an accountability partner: Having someone to work out with can help you stay accountable and motivated. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or personal trainer, find someone who shares your goals and can support you.
  5. Mix it up: Doing the same daily workout routine can get boring and lead to burnout. Mix up your workouts by trying new activities or exercises to keep things interesting and challenging.

Remember, starting a workout routine takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day or two – get back on track and keep moving forward. Consistency is key, so focus on establishing a sustainable habit you can maintain over the long term.

How to Get Into a Workout Routine at Home

How to stick to a workout routine will look a bit different if you work out at home vs. at the gym. At home, you can stack your workout habit on any habit as part of your daily routine as long as you have 15-30 minutes after your chosen habit (it could be your morning coffee like me, an afternoon break time, or an evening tea). You could also stack your other habit on your new workout habit. For example, working out right before lunch.

Aside from habit stacking, here are a few other things you can try to stick to your workout routine at home:

  • Start with simple exercises: If you are new to working out, start with simple exercises you can do at home without equipment, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks.
  • Use online resources: There are plenty of online resources available to help you get started, such as fitness apps, workout videos, and online fitness classes. Use these resources to help you learn new exercises and stay motivated. My favorite resource is Alo Moves. You will find many free workouts on this blog, too! For example, my Best Yoga Upper Body Workout at Home: Full 20-Minute Routine.
  • Get the right equipment: If you want to do more advanced exercises or strength training, you may need to invest in some equipment, such as dumbbells, resistance bands, or a yoga mat. Make sure you have everything you need before you start your workout.
  • Make it fun: Finally, make sure you choose exercises that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, it will be challenging to stick to your routine. Find exercises you enjoy, and mix things up to keep your routine interesting and challenging.

My 5-Day Yoga Habit Challenge is designed to provide all you need to get into a workout routine at home. It includes daily 5-minute workouts and mini-coaching sessions to enable you to create healthy habits.

How to Start Working Out at the Gym

What if you want to work out at the gym? It may make habit stacking a bit more tricking because you must set aside a significant chunk of time (gym workouts don’t typically require only 20 minutes, right?).

Sticking to the gym can be challenging, especially when starting. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and consistent with your gym routine:

  1. Set realistic goals: Make sure your fitness goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will help you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals.
  2. Schedule your workouts: Set aside specific weekly days and times for gym use. Make it a priority in your schedule, and treat your workout like any other necessary appointment.
  3. Find a workout buddy: A workout buddy can help you stay motivated and accountable. You can motivate and hold each other accountable for sticking to your gym routine.
  4. Mix up your routine: Doing the same workout daily can get boring and lead to losing motivation. Mix your routine by trying different exercises, classes, or workout programs. This will keep your workouts interesting and challenging.
  5. Reward yourself: Reward yourself for sticking to your gym routines, such as a massage, a new workout outfit, or a healthy treat. This will help you stay motivated and feel good about your progress.
  6. Track your progress: Keep track of your progress by taking measurements, keeping a workout journal, or using a fitness app. Seeing your progress can be motivating and help you stay on track.
  7. Be patient: Results take time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stick with your gym routine, and you will see progress over time.

Remember, consistency is key when sticking with your gym routine. Keep at it, and you will achieve your fitness goals!

2. Short workouts

My second life-changing tip on how to stick to a workout routine is all about short workouts. I think home workouts are an advantage compared to gym workouts. Many women think that to see results, they need to set aside one hour every time they work out when, in reality, you will benefit more from working out every day for a shorter time (30-40 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity is plenty!). When I started doing yoga consistently, I set aside only 20 minutes daily and saw a massive difference in my fitness level!

Then, I started increasing the duration incrementally. My morning workouts tend to be around 30 minutes; in the evening, I stretch for about 30 minutes (I used to stretch for only 15 minutes).

Here’s the difference I noticed in my core strength only:

Learn more about my transformation by reading my post 1-Year Yoga Transformation: Before and After Pictures.

How to Start Exercising When You’re Out of Shape

Learning how to stick to a workout routine may feel more burdensome when you’re out of shape. You likely haven’t been working out for a long time, so it’s a brand-new habit you hope to set. Habit stacking and short workouts are still crucial! If you only remember two points from this article, this is it!

Furthermore, if you are wondering how do I stay committed to working out? Remember to track your progress. My favorite way to track my progress is to take pictures and videos of my skill levels and compare them over time. Also, track your measurements, keep a workout journal, or use a fitness app. Seeing your progress can be motivating and help you stay on track.

Lastly, be patient! It is an unpopular truth that many fitness goals will take years to achieve, not weeks! Results take time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stick with your workout routine, and you will see progress over time. Check out the Instagram post for additional tips.

In Summary

How to stick to a workout routine boils down to two simple tips: habit stacking and short workouts. If you focus on these two strategies, you should be able to become consistent with your workouts. But whenever you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself back up the next day. Creating new habits is a process. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.